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The Problem of Juvenile Delinquency

In today's society, the problem of juvenile delinquency is running more rampant than ever before. Also, the degrees to which it occurs are far more serious than they were, even ten years ago. The problem used to be over-simplified and chalked up to "kids will be kids", but today's "kids" are contributing to much more serious crimes than they used to. One statistic states that youths under the age of 18 years accounted for 15.4% of arrests for violent crimes and 33.5% of arrests for property crimes in 1986.1 This statistic is more than ten years old, and with the increasing popularity of gang culture and substance abuse amongst young people, it would be safe to assume that these statistics have either increased, or at the very least, remained the same.

With numbers as high as they are, delinquency amongst youths must be seen as a social problem that has to be dealt with soon, before it becomes even more out of control than it is right now. Before we can begin to try and treat this behavior, we must establish a cause for it. As with a physical illness, a cure cannot be obtained until a cause is determined, therefore we must uncover the underlying factors that cause this behaviour, and then work from there to find a suitable "treatment".

Review Of Literature And Development Of Hypothesis

As with all behavioral and psychological issues, the nature vs. nurture debate comes into play when discussing causes of delinquency. Many people feel strongly that one or the other is usually the cause of certain "behavioral problems", but I tend to think that often, it's usually the two theories working together. My hypothesis is that it is a combination of biological factors and learned behaviour that causes delinquency amongst young people, and not simply one or the other.

I feel that children are born with genetically pre-determined personality traits, such as violence, temper, morality & conscience levels, etc., but I don...

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